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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mothers

It is very nice to receive the calls, the cards, the carnations—maybe even the breakfast in bed and a “by” on the dishes. “No Mom, you sit down, it’s Mother’s Day.”

Whatever the family traditions I’m OK with them. I have some concerns about some of the traditions that have found their way into our worship practices. Some folks much smarter and more sensitive than I have explored a few of the traps we may fall into there. Here’s one of the best I’ve read.

In my researching I did discover some interesting and challenging facts about the historic origins of this day. Daughter Anna Jarvis wanted to memorialize her mother’s lifetime of efforts on behalf of disadvantaged children and mothers in mid-nineteenth century West Virginia mills and factories. She was shocked by the horrific conditions people, particularly women and children, were enduring. Crowded housing and working conditions, disease, malnutrition, children forced to work at the expense of their education and any hope for a decent future.

Jarvis undertook to organize what she called “Mother’s Day Clubs” bringing other women to work in relief actions and to pressure factory owners and government to reduce the suffering and pass laws to make significant changes to work as well as food safety and disease control practices.

During the American Civil War the model of the Mothers’ Day Club was used to mobilize volunteers to go into field hospitals, onto battle fields, tending to the sons of North or South who were being wounded and maimed by this most cruel conflict.

It was out of this latter experience Julia Ward Howe stepped up to advocate for a national day to promote the objectives of these two movements. She believed that mothers could best understand the desperate need to end such conflicts, to fight for peace in word and in deed. And in the shadow of WWI, President Wilson agreed and instituted this national day in recognition of the Mothers whose chief goals were peace and justice, ending the conditions that took untold lives by war or in tragic exploitation by cruel industrialists.

Unfortunately, the end of the First World War also saw the rise of commercialism and of advertising. Mothers’ Day was one of the “victims” of this development. Within fifteen years of its institution, Anna Jarvis’ daughter lamented that she had ever allowed her mother’s efforts to be associated with the day that had been co-opted by those commercial influences.

She despaired that the day she hoped would mobilize the voices of caring women had lost its focus and become another spectacle of shopping and feasting. I think Anna Jarvis would be pleased if we truly take up the Mission Initiatives to “abolish poverty, end suffering and pursue peace on earth.”

Oh yes, I love to hear from my kids and grandkids on Mother’s Day, but I am so very proud that all of them are doing things with their lives to end suffering and pursue peace. That is the best gift!

Posted by Marion

2 comments:

  1. A phone call from your children is very meaningful in the busyness of everyones' lives or a visit .
    mothers often just need that assurance that they are remembered
    thank you for your message Marion

    ReplyDelete
  2. For sure Elizabeth.
    And thank you too for all YOU do to promote peace in your community!

    ReplyDelete